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Monday, 2 February 2009

The System Thinking Review

New website, The System Thinking Review, take a look here.  Lots of insight into huge cost and quality improvements in the public sector, with lots of real, proven examples.


  1. Is this the new Edwards Deming doctrine? How does it compare with our past attempts such as quality management and corporate and clinical governance?

  2. Deming informs a lot of what Seddon does, plus the Toyota Production System of Taichi Ohno. But I wouldn't say it's a new Deming Doctrine. What Seddon has done is work out how to use these ideas in services, both private and public.

    This is not an attempt to apply "Lean" to services, which doesn't work.

    The main features:

    Understand variation (there's your Deming) do the Red Bead Experiment

    Eliminate targets (Deming again, point #10)

    Look at your system from the customer's perspective - find out what matters to the customer.

    Look at your process in terms of flows. Streamline, simplify the flow - waste will be reduced, costs will fall, even if it looks like costs will increase.

    It compares with TQM and Clinical Governance by throwing that way and starting from the customers' and workers' end, not the managers'.

    It is awesome, which is why I'm pushing it - I have no connection with Seddon's company, other than to have met the man at a seminar and read all his books.

  3. Looks like a progression on previous work, which can only be a good thing.

  4. I work in Corporate Project Management Administration.

    First problem...

    Identify the REAL customer!

  5. AC1, indeed, that can be a major headache.

    In my business you have the driver, the owner, the sales organisation, the OEMs, the manufacturing organisation, the directors, the shareholders, regulators, etc.. If you focus on the driver's experience: everything else falls into place. If you don't: you'll fail.

    The customer here is usually pretty clear; in most of Seddon's work it is the end-user of a service (the person with a dripping tap to fix, or who has been mugged, or has a heart condition, or Baby P)

    All the others involved are part of the system. OBTW, when Seddon says system, he doesn't mean IT system.

    He also draws on system thinkers like Peter Senge.